I thank my former Seanad colleague, Deputy Ross, for his input to the debate. He is essentially proposing a public appointments process for senior Garda officers, including the Garda Commissioner. Given that the Government is committed to the establishment of an independent authority, Deputy Ross must accept on reflection that the proposition is premature. It is likely and reasonable that a new independent Garda authority will be part of the appointments process, and there may be room for Oireachtas committee involvement.
It is important that Deputy Ross accepts the reality that the Government is committed to the appointment of a Garda Commissioner by an independent body, which is a strong stance. The Garda inspectorate is to carry out a comprehensive inquiry into a serious crime investigation and management issues arising from the Guerin report. There is also the current Toland review of the Department of Justice and Equality and the Cooke report has been published. It would be wrong of us not to say that the Cooke report totally exonerates the former Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Alan Shatter, and I am proud to say that. The Fennelly report is also pending, which examines the telephone calls issue.
It is clear that this Government is anxious to reform and accelerate that process. No one in the Dáil could suggest a better person to do that than the Minister, who has an extraordinary record of reform in her previous ministerial role.
If Deputy Ross were to reflect on this he should be happy that an independent process to appoint the Commissioner is en route and that all the other reforms are in place. It is very important while we deal with the fall-out from the Guerin report and the matters that should be changed, to recognise that we are very well served by the gardaí, that we have an excellent relationship with them, that an impartial, highly professional, courageous Garda force polices our State.
This Government has grasped all the issues and is acting on the various reports it has commissioned. The Commissioner will be appointed independently and the independent Garda authority will be set up. The Toland report on the Department is in progress. While it is a good thing that Deputy Ross has tabled this Bill he could not on reflection do other than withdraw it, accept the reality of reform, and applaud the process that is in place.